Pablo Picasso spent much of the summer of 1921 in a garage. Inside this unlikely studio in a rented villa in Fontainebleau, France, he worked prolifically to create a startling body of work. Among his most astonishing creations were two radically different, six-foot-high canvases that he painted side-by-side within weeks of each other: Three Women at the Spring and Three Musicians. Picasso in Fontainebleau will reunite these two monumental paintings, along with other works from the artist’s pivotal three-month stay at the improvised studio, complemented by photographs and archival documents.
Picasso’s simultaneous pursuit of disparate styles had enveloped the art world in controversy for several years. Had Picasso progressed or regressed? Was he avant-garde or academic? Revolutionary or reactionary? Critics were divided. These questions speak to the ways in which Picasso’s Fontainebleau output defies categorization and disrupts expectations of how artists evolve.
Image: Detail from Three Musicians, Pablo Picasso, 1921 / courtesy of MoMA